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Mango qualifies for bronze medal match at Hungarian Golden Grand Prix

SZOMBATHELY, Hungary - 2008 U.S. Olympian Spenser Mango (St. Louis, Mo./New York AC) was defeated in the semifinals, and will compete in a bronze-medal match at 55 kg/121 lbs. at Hungarian Golden Grand Prix on Sunday.

In the semifinals, Mango fell to Kohei Hasegawa of Japan, 1-0, 0-2, 0-1. In the first period, Mango scored from the top position in the clinch with just seconds left in the match. Hasegawa came back to take the second period, scoring a gut wrench. In the final period, there was no score and Mango had the top position from the clinch. When Mango could not score in the 30-seconds allotted, Hasegawa received the point and the victory.

"It was a tough one," said Assistant National Greco-Roman Coach Momir Petkovic. "It was a very close match against a good Japanese opponent. It was nice to see him come back in that first period to score in the last seconds. When you can focus and score in the last seconds, that it a good thing."

Mango's opponent in the bronze-medal match has yet to be determined.

"I have no question that he will come back strong," said Petkovic. He lost a tough match that could have gone either way. He will come out and go for the bronze. That is why he is here."

Mango opened with a 3-0, 1-0 victory over Gabor Molnar of Hungary. He followed with a controversial 5-0, 2-2, 1-0 win over Georgi Gvenetadze of Georgia in the quarterfinals.

Mango was in control in the opening period. In the second period, Mango scored a point on a stepout and received a second point when the Georgians appealed the call and were overturned. However, Mango let the period get away from him by getting reversed for two points late in the period to make it 2-2, losing the tiebreaker.

In the third period, Gvetnatdze lifted Mango, who blocked the throw and officials awarded no points. However, mat officials argued about the call, with one adamant that it be changed. However, under the new rules, if an athlete had already used his appeal, a calling could not be adjusted. Mango went on to defend from the bottom position in the clinch to earn a point and win the match.

The other three U.S. wrestlers who competed on Sunday were defeated in their opening matches.

The only one to qualify for a repechage match was Nate Engel (St. Helena, Calif./USOEC/Sunkist Kids) who fell to Christian Fris of Serbia, 0-5, 0-7 and was eliminated.

At Szombathely, Hungary, March 1

U.S. performances on Sunday

55 kg/121 lbs. - Spenser Mango, St. Louis, Mo. (USOEC/New York AC)
WIN Gabor Molnar (Hungary), 3-0, 1-0
WIN Georgi Gvenetadze (Georgia), 5-0, 2-2, 1-0
LOSS Kohei Hasegawa (Japan), 1-0, 0-2, 0-1

55 kg/121 lbs. - Nate Engel, St. Helena, Calif. (USOEC/Sunkist Kids)
LOSS Mariusz Los (Poland), 0-1, 0-2
LOSS Christian Fris (Serbia), 0-5, 0-7

66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Matt Holt, Colorado Springs, Colo. (Unattached)
LOSS Markus Thommesen (Norway), 0-1, 0-2

66 kg/145.5 lbs. - Kerry Regner, Darlington, Pa. (USOEC)
LOSS Karel Hanak (Czech Republic), 0-2, 0-3
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